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Collision with the Infinite: A Life Beyond the Personal Self Paperback – September 1, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Dove Press; 2 edition (September 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884997279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884997273
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The utility of this book derives from the clarity with which Segal describes the profound spiritual experience of the egoless state and the sense of emptiness that many spiritual traditions seek to produce. Segal's easy and conversational narrative of her experience of this state does three things. First, it names the goal that meditation systems like her own Transcendental Meditation (TM) advita tradition seek. Secondly, her description of this experience in clear and appealing language bereft of all spiritual jargon is marvelously instructive. Thirdly, Segal's account of her own fear while in this state, coupled with her compelling curiosity to understand that fear, can teach others on this path how to cope with the experience. Many have tried to do what Segal does, but none have achieved such clarity in the task. Segal's book is a compelling testament to the power of advita spirituality couched in terms any pilgrim can understand and appreciate.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"'Enlightenment' to me means a total annihilation of the sense of personal doership. In the words of the Buddha, 'Events happen, deeds are done, but there is no individual doer thereof.' "Whether a traumatic experience is necessary for enlightenment to occur is a moot point, but it happened to Suzanne Segal. In her book, she describes the full story in a sincere and lucid manner, in simple words and a fluent style that fascinated me. "To anyone interested in the subject, I would say, 'Read this book!' " -- Ramesh Balsekar, author of Consciousness Speaks

"...Suzanne Segal...writes about her fears and apprehensions while coming to terms with her vivid awakening." -- Rodney Stevens,

"Suzanne Segal's Collision with the Infinite was a major milestone in my life. I consider Segal's book one on the giant works of our time, one of the most intriguing testaments of the mystical state, unique in its own way and language. I carried it around with me for weeks, couldn't bear to put it down, read and re-read it." -- Joseph Chilton Pearce author of The Magical Child

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This book shows the dark side of the moon.
Scott Meredith
Finally coming across a book on Buddhism, she reads that the loss of the sense of self is the goal of millions of Buddhists worldwide.
thaiguy
Highly recommend this book to those with an interest in advaita/non-duality.
kminko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "tim_farrington" on May 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Suzanne Segal's extraordinary story of her experience of the instantaneous and total loss of her "self" is simply fascinating, and should be read by anyone blessed or cursed to find themselves wandering the incomprehensible and often bleak terrains of the varieties of spiritual undoing. Her style is beautifully straightforward, lucid, and generous, without affectation. In her matter-of-fact at-homeness with the most extraordinary conditions of consciousness, she is similar to Bernadette Roberts, whose own books on the no-self experience are the best I've ever encountered. This book has distinct weaknesses--Segal's final insistence on the irrelevance of spiritual practices rings a little strange in the light of her own years of intense meditation practice that preceded her catapulting into the land of no-self, and her failure to consider more fully the relationship between her history and the apparently spontaneous dawning of the no-self state strikes me as unsatisfying. And the book's somewhat sketchy epilogue clearly raises more--and fascinating--questions than it answers. The early death of this extraordinary woman is heartbreaking; how marvelous it would have been to see where her further development led her. But as it is, she has left us a precious gift in this memoir, like a note from a previous climber, high up on a frigid mountain, pointing the way ahead.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By P. Nagy on May 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
This memoir offers some insight on how one might interiorly feel about having no sense of personal self or ego. This near legendary state of some advanced contemplative is here given an autobiographical setting. It is important for its hints of psychological insights but even more revealing as an historic document to show how difficult such states are in the context of current spiritual culture. This an extraordinary account of the experience of selflessness points to the heart of spiritual experience that is fully gifted and not an achievement of practice as self-control. The simplicity of the narrative and its reasonable honesty provides an illuminating account of one woman's experience of loss of personal identity and constant sense of Emptiness. Her eventual discovery, after much fear and pain, the emptiness become a calm entrance to unity and peace.  Segal's opinions in COLLISION WITH THE INFINITE will also poke holes in the work-ethic of Buddhist practice and other forms of spiritual go-gettering. Highly recommended.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Matt Rutherford on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I agree with the previous reviewer that this book offers an interesting description of the spiritual experience of having "no-self" but isn't a particularly inspiring read. What was confusing though is that in the introduction we're asked to transcend viewing Suzanne's experiences pathologically, but in the epilogue she herself sees that she has been dissociated due to childhood sexual abuse. Why ask us to suspend a pathological interpretation only to invite us back to that interpretation at the end?
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
I woke up at 4 in the morning and I decided that, rather than complain about my unintentional wakefulness, I would embrace it and see what happens. How perfect that I decided to reach for Collision with the Infinite, the story of an American woman who, during the un-enlightening act of stepping on a bus in France, spontaneously realized the goal of mystics throughout the ages -- stepping beyond any notion of an "I," a "self" to whom things happen. More incredible than her instantaneous realization was the terror and confusion that, for ten years, arose in the mind of this woman along with her lack of awareness of "who" was experiencing this terror. Ms. Segal's search to understand her experience and the evolving awareness that arose kept me wide awake until I had finished her story only 2 hours later. And her story sparked my story. To say that Collision altered *my* sense of self would be simplistic at best. A must read for seekers of all kinds
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By RutheStar@aol.com on August 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am still high from reading this book yesterday. As a fellow T.M. teacher who was in Livigno, Italy, training to become a teacher just two months before Suzanne, I feel that I can almost remember her question to Maharishi about the pain of her experience. Her comments on the flaws of this large spiritual organization are accurate, but sad to read in print. But how she could have missed the signs of her own enlightenment is beyond me, as we were so carefully taught to recognize the symptoms. Why she failed to check in with Maharishi earlier is also incomprehensible. Still I feel that her book has given me a personal key to the next steps in my own spiritual evolution. Just reading her words, and her final, total clarity around her experience was a wonderful darshan that makes me want to give away copies of her book to everyone I know.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sean McCandless on June 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've wanted to buy this book for quite some time, and today it came in the mail. I read the whole book in less than one day and found it absolutely wonderful. Some reviewers have mentioned that a distinct weakness to the book is Segal's insistence on the irrelevance of spiritual practices. I do not consider this a weakness but in fact part and parcel to Segal's "ideas" of liberation--what we call spiritual practice and what we call non-spiritual things are in fact synonymous to one another within the context of the vastness. This is liberation itself, the idea that the only purpose served by practice is to demonstrate how practice is unecessary. This seems to mirror other "individuals" who state that going to the bathroom, eating, and sleeping are as much a spiritual practice as is meditating or praying. To Segal there is no living apart from the vastness or even necessarily in the vastness--rather, instead of indentifying with these two dualistic states, we rather are the vastness itself, quite different from inside or outside this vastness. There have been times where I have been told that this enlightenment comes by grace and I think "Ah, why can I not have that? Why am I so unworthy?" but then I remember what Segal's first and foremost insistence is: we are all the vastness; we can never NOT be the vastness. In this case, enlightenment is just a delusion itself. Wonderful book, wonderful.
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